Bontebok, Damaliscus pygargus (Vulnerable)
The Greater De Hoop Conservation Area is the stronghold of bontebok conservation. Together, De Hoop Nature Reserve and the adjacent Overberg Test Range support almost half of all bontebok on protected areas. First nearly hunted to extinction, then nearly bred to extinction through hybridization with the closely related blesbok, the bontebok was saved from extinction by Bredasdorp farmers. The antelope’s long-term survival was further ensured by the declaration of Bontebok National Park and De Hoop Nature Reserve. The bontebok is a conservation priority in its own right, but it is also a flagship for Renosterveld conservation. Private land conservation is still essential to ensure a positive future for both the antelope and its habitat. The Bontebok Biodiversity Management Plan, gazetted last year, aims to safeguard the genetic integrity of the subspecies, conserve and restore its habitat, raise awareness around related conservation issues, and implement adaptive management underpinned by research and monitoring.